Indeed, when the Croatian put pen to paper it was for an incredible six-year contract - enough for the 21-year-old to immediately realise how highly thought of he was by the powers that be at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Inter Milan had been forced to allow the player to leave because of Financial Fair Play rules and manager Roberto Mancini was just one to voice his displeasure at the sale, whilst reluctantly accepting that he could do nothing about it.
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Even ex-Inter and Spain star Luis Suarez - no, not the Barcelona man - gave his opinion, and likened the move to when Andrea Pirlo was allowed to leave the club some years before.
He told Gazzetta Dello Sport via ESPN: "Mateo had to become the focal point of Inter's future, and when you saw him play, you could tell he was on another level compared to the others.
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"The comparison with Pirlo is apt; even Andrea left because the club did not have the patience to wait for him to mature, and then he became the player everyone knew he would. Kovacic has the quality to become the new Pirlo."
Bearing in mind that most who have seen Kovacic play agree that he is a special talent, one has to then pose the question as to why Rafael Benitez has only seen fit to play him for the full 90 minutes in just one of his 15 Real Madrid appearances to date.
Even Isco, who is out of favour at the best of times for Los Blancos, has seen more minutes than the young Croatian.
Could it be a case of Real - more accurately Florentino Perez - hoovering up more talent just because he/they can, but then leaving it to Benitez to try and find a way to integrate the player into the team?
With five and a half years left on his extensive contract, there is certainly plenty of time for Kovacic to make his mark.
But a player with such an outstanding skill set needs to be marauding about the pitch now. Against opponents of his ilk.
Not stuck on the subs bench and hardly used.
Kovacic is creative, versatile and adept at quick ball with incisive passing, both long and short.
Able to play in either an advanced or withdrawn midfield position, he is much like countryman Luka Modric in many respects and the latter certainly isn't going anywhere for the foreseeable future.
Indeed, Kovacic would appear to be a long-term project, but the short term vision in acquiring him now only to leave him to rot is tantamount to a serious waste of talent, time and money.
Should Kovacic seek a move away from the Bernabeu, whether it be permanent or temporary? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!